Is it legal for a third party consultant to come in and record employees with their cell phone?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Is it legal for a third party consultant to come in and record employees with their cell phone?

I understand that my state has 1- party consent when videotaping either the employer or employee. I also read elsewhere that the employer has to at least have a general statement or policy that they are recording. If a 3rd party recorded us without permission is that legal? if it was for work improvement, great, but what if none of the employees were aware because there was nothing stating that videotaping is occuring on the premises? Maybe this is more the case of being unethical rather then illegal? Can legal action ever be taken? Do employees have a right to know if those recordings were indeed used for work purposes and nothing else being it was the consultant’s own cell phone?

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You are correct that MN is a “one-party consent” state. This means that only one party to a communication needs to consent to its recording in order for it to be legal (unless the recording is made for the purpose of committing a crime or tortious act).  Accordingly, either employers or employees may secretly record conversations relating to employment without violating the law. 

As for employer notice of recording, I could fins no such legal reference. However, to b certain of your rights you should consult directly with a local attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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